In Genesis 5:29 the Bible states that Lamech named his son Noah –Rest or comfort. Lamech states that he named Noah – Rest because he – Noah would bring rest, or comfort, to his family because of the work and toil that his family was subjected to because of the curse that God had put upon the earth due of the sin of Adam, and of the sins of Cain. This toil God had never wanted His people to experience. In fact God gave the Sabbath rest in Genesis 2;1-3; Exodus 31:12-17; and Hebrews 4:1-11. God gave the rest to inform everyone that His works had been completed from the time of Creation and that all who entered into this rest would be blessed as well. God then blessed, sanctified, and eventually made the Sabbath holy. Genesis 2;1-3 and Exodus 20:8,11
It is clear that God wants us to rest in Him to take care of our issues regarding works. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus states the following: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This call is from the Creator Himself and He calls all to come to Him and He will provide the rest from our labors. Our job is to come to Him and trust in His ability to care for us temporally and spiritually.
This thought is amplified again in Isaiah 30:15 “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; and ye would not.” The whole issue of salvation is to rest in the care of God and to allow Him to deliver us. This rest is symbolized in the Sabbath day. Hebrews 4:1-11 When we strive to care for ourselves by working constantly we are telling Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath rest, that we do not need His help, we can care for ourselves. Conversely, when we accept Jesus’ Sabbath we can rest from our labors and trust that He has ways of saving us of which we know nothing. Thus Sabbath is the sign of His sanctifying power. Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12
This story is told again in the story of Moses and Pharaoh. God had informed Moses that for Him to save Israel, Israel would need to begin to cooperate with God by keeping His Sabbath day, to labor to enter into His rest. Hebrews 4:11. When Israel began to obey the Lord of the Sabbath the king of Egypt protested by telling Moses that “ye make them rest from their burdens.” Exodus 5:5. This rest was visible to the king of Egypt and he did not like it for it testified to trusting in a God that Pharaoh could not control and would not submit to. Thus the testimony of the children of Israel brought Pharaoh under sufficient conviction that he became cruel in his refusal to allow Israel to rest and worship God. This Sabbath conflict grew into a settled conflict, which required the signs and wonders of God in order to deliver Israel from their assailants.
This Sabbath conflict in Egypt is typological of the issues that will happen near the end of time. Satan will again try to force the hand of God’s people by threatening to cause them not to be able to buy or sell as a result of their labors. If the people do not trust in God they will be tempted to disobey God by working seven days a week rather than resting on God’s seventh day – Saturday. They would then be following in the footsteps of rebellious Israel in the time of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 17. God warned them then not to work on His Sabbath day or He would have to burn down Jerusalem to get their attention back on Him so that they could rest in His care.
Nehemiah also ran into this same problem. In Nehemiah 13:15-22 Nehemiah found that the people of God, just having returned from Babylon, had started to disobey God’s laws, including the Sabbath law, by working on the Sabbath day. They were laboring to make money, not laboring to enter into His rest and to trust that He would be able to care for them. So they bought and sold on the Sabbath day. Nehemiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, warned them of their rebellion and compared it to the Sabbath rebellion that led to their captivity to Babylon in the first place, by turning their back to the temple of the Lord of the Sabbath and thus worshipping the sun, on the day of the sun. Ezekiel 8:16 In the end Nehemiah had to “threaten” the merchants from Tyre not to camp around the walls of Jerusalem in order to sell their wares and tempt Israel to buy and sell on the Sabbath day. Nehemiah was able to lead into a successful Sabbath reform.
Jesus has warned that in the last days it will be like in the times of Noah. Matthew 24:37 We know that the minds of the people before the flood were continually interested in rebelling against any thing that God wanted to have us participate in. We would have to believe that the Sabbath was a special issue of the time and that most likely sun worship was one of the dominant thought processes of the time, just as it was in the time of the prophets. But as God raised up Noah – Rest or comfort, to keep the focus on the Creator God, so He will raise up a people to keep the Sabbath rest and comfort ever before the people so that they to can enter into returning (cessation from backsliding) and rest – (surrender to the laws of God including the Sabbath day.)
I pray that we might receive the lesson of Noah – whose very name was to elevate the Sabbath as a sign of rest and surrender to our Lord Jesus Christ.